Spirit of Australia

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Spirit of Australia in which Ken Warby set the world water speed record in 1978 on Blowering Dam, New South Wales, Australia. In the Australian Maritime Museum in Sydney.

Spirit of Australia is a wooden speed boat built in a Sydney backyard, by Ken Warby, that broke and set the world water speed record on 8 October 1978.[1][2][3]

The record and boat[edit]

On 8 October 1978, Ken Warby rode the Spirit of Australia on the Tumut River near the Blowering Dam in Australia on opposite direction runs of 492.813 km/h (306.220 mph; 266.098 kn) and 529.412 km/h (328.961 mph; 285.860 kn),[4] for an official record of 511.11 km/h (317.59 mph; 275.98 kn),[5][6] with a peak speed of 555 km/h (345 mph; 300 kn).[4] It was powered by a Westinghouse J34 jet engine. The engine was developed by the Westinghouse Electric Company in the late 1940s and was used for jet fighters and other aircraft. Spirit of Australia is displayed permanently at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour, Sydney, New South Wales.[7]


Starting in the early 1990s, Warby built a second jet boat, Aussie Spirit powered with a fresh Westinghouse J34, but he never made a record attempt with it.[8] Warby and his son Dave then worked on a new boat, Spirit of Australia II, powered by a Bristol Siddeley Orpheus jet engine taken from an Italian Fiat G.91 fighter.[9][10][11] This was completed in December 2004. In 2007 Ken Warby handed over the reins to his son who achieved 314 km/h (195 mph; 170 kn) on a testing run on Blowering Lake in 2018.[12] As of 22 May 2021 the team are still modifying the design. [13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Spirit of Australia". kenwarby.com.
  2. ^ "Spirit of Australia - Ken Warby". solarnavigator.net.
  3. ^ "The world's fastest boat...Spirit of Australia". anmm.gov.au. Australian National Maritime Museum.
  4. ^ a b Worlds Fastest Boat (all 4). YouTube. 4 August 2008 [1978]. 3 minutes in. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Water speed record (fastest boat)". guinnessworldrecords.com. Guinness World Records. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Union of International Motorboating Record". uimpowerboating.com.
  7. ^ "Ken Warby and SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA: Still the world record holder, 40 years later".
  8. ^ "Aussie Spirit". Warby Motorsport. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  9. ^ Huxley, John (14 February 2015). "The Warby need for speed". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  10. ^ "David Warby hopes to claim his dad's world water speed record on Blowering Dam in 2017". No. The Leader. 30 December 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  11. ^ "SPIRIT OF AUSTRALIA II". Warby Motorsport. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  12. ^ Jefferies, Chris (20 May 2021). "Fastest boat: The 4 current contenders for the world water-speed record". Motor Boat & Yachting. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  13. ^ warbyadmin (3 April 2021). "May 22nd &23rd tests back on Blowering Dam". Warby Motorsport. Retrieved 17 May 2022.

External links[edit]